A preliminary study of youth sport concussions: Parents' health literacy and knowledge of return-to-play protocol criteria

Brain Inj. 2017;31(8):1124-1130. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2017.1298003. Epub 2017 May 16.


Primary objective: To preliminarily explore parents' health literacy and knowledge of youth sport league rules involving concussion education and training, and return-to-play protocols.

Research design and methods: This study was guided by the Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (KAP) model of health knowledge to examine parents' concussion literacy, and understanding of concussion education and training, and return-to-play protocols in youth sports. The mixed-method design involved 119 participants; that included in-person (n=8) and telephone (n=4) interviews, and web-based surveys administered through Mechanical Turk via Qualtrics (n=98).

Main outcomes and results: Most respondents were not familiar with concussion protocols, but trusted coaches' knowledge in return-to-play rules. More than half of the respondents report that the return-to-play concussion criteria have not been clearly explained to them. The majority of respondents were not familiar with the CDC's 'Heads Up' online concussion training programme, nor were they familiar with any other educational/training tool. About one-fifth of the parents had conversations with a coach or medical staff about youth sport concussions.

Conclusion: Parents have a general understanding of how to identify concussion symptoms, but lack knowledge of immediate steps to take following an incident other than seeking medical help.

Keywords: Youth sports; concussion literacy; education; parents; return-to-play.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Concussion / etiology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentors / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Return to Sport*
  • Young Adult
  • Youth Sports / psychology